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Mark Carpenter
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REMADE for Design for Recycling®

Jan 25, 2017

In many ways, REMADE embodies ISRI’s four Design for Recycling® (DfR) principles—(1) Making Consumer Products Recyclable; (2) Reducing Environmental Risks; (3) Controlling Special Environmental Problems; and (4) Assistance to Manufacturers of Consumer Durables, especially the fourth principle (e.g., DOE matching funds)—to make consumer durables more recyclable and safer to recycle. ISRI’s involvement in REMADE, and before that with DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory (INL) and Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO), was no accident and years in the (re)making. ISRI expects that REMADE will be very beneficial to the recycling industry.

Under DOE’s AMO as part of the Manufacturing USA initiative, the REMADE Institute is a national coalition of leading universities and companies that will forge new clean energy initiatives deemed critical in keeping U.S. manufacturing competitive. In a highly competitive selection process, DOE awarded leadership of REMADE to RIT’s team, the Sustainable Manufacturing Innovation Alliance (SMIA), based on the strength of SMIA’s REMADE proposal, led by Dr. Nabil Nasr, RIT Associate Provost and Director of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability (GIS). As REMADE Leader, SMIA will leverage up to $70 million in federal funding (see fourth DfR principle) that will be matched by $70 million in private cost-share commitments from industry and other consortium members, including 85 partners. In all, 26 universities, 44 companies, seven national labs, 26 industry trade associations and foundations, and three states (New York, Colorado and Utah) are engaged in REMADE. ISRI is a REMADE member and proud of its role in helping to shape REMADE and assisting SMIA in its winning proposal.

REMADE will focus its efforts on driving down the cost of technologies essential to reuse, recycle, and remanufacture materials such as metals, fibers, polymers and used electronics. REMADE aims to achieve a 50-percent improvement in overall material energy efficiency by 2027. These efficiency improvements could save billions of dollars in energy costs, improve U.S. economic competitiveness through innovative new manufacturing techniques and small business opportunities, and offer new training and jobs for American workers. REMADE has the following five-year goals:

     5 to 10 percent improvement in manufacturing material efficiency

     50 percent increase in remanufacturing applications

     30 percent increase in efficiency of remanufacturing operations

     30 percent increase in recycling efficiencies

     A targeted 50 percent increase in sales for the U.S. manufacturing industry to $21.5 billion and the creation of a next-generation recycling and manufacturing workforce.

REMADE’s focus and five-year goals did not happen by chance. In summer 2013, ISRI was invited by DOE’s INL to make a presentation on the recycling industry in a kickoff workshop for a newly conceived Institute for Recovery, Recycling, Reuse, and Remanufacturing (R4-I). Recognizing the opportunities within the R4-I concept for recycling thought-leadership and promotion of DfR, ISRI accepted the invitation to present and participate in the initial R4-I Workshop. In September 2013, ISRI and other stakeholder participants spent two days in a small Denver airport hotel trying to define more precisely the recycling and related sustainability problems that R4-I could address as a public-private partnership involving INL and other federal labs and institutions. This led to an initial R4-I whitepaper. As the R4-I concept gained traction over time, its name and scope evolved into the Reducing Embodied-Energy and Decreasing Emissions (REMADE) Institute under DOE’s AMO and as part of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) (aka Manufacturing USA). ISRI participated in subsequent variously named and sponsored workshops November 2014, January 2016, and June 2016 to further refine the problem statements, concepts, and goals for the future REMADE.

Later in June 2016, DOE issued a request for proposals on its Funding Opportunity Announcement for the REMADE Institute to “enable the development and widespread deployment of key industrial platform technologies that will dramatically reduce life-cycle energy consumption and carbon emissions associated with industrial-scale materials production and processing through the development of technologies for reuse, recycling, and remanufacturing of materials.” ISRI was soon invited and accepted the invitation to join RIT’s team, SMIA. ISRI met with other SMIA members late August 2016 for two days in Denver, Colorado to work on and fine tune SMIA’s REMADE proposal ahead of the late September 2016 submission deadline. Evidently, SMIA’s proposal was strong enough to overcome the competing proposals to earn the opportunity to lead the REMADE Institute.

ISRI’s membership in the REMADE leadership team reflects the success of ISRI’s patient investment over three years to participate in the national technical conversation about the importance of recycling, including the role of DfR, in sustainable manufacturing. As we say in government relations, “it is better to have a seat at the table than to be on the menu.” ISRI has a seat at the REMADE table.

Being so new, the REMADE Institute is currently gets its organizational structure set up to ensure operational readiness in finance, contracting, staffing etc. REMADE holds the promise of providing benefits and opportunities for the recycling industry over its initial five-year period of federal matching funds ($14 million annually). ISRI will keep ISRI members informed about REMADE activities and opportunities for involvement in REMADE projects.

David Wagger is chief scientist and director of environmental management at ISRI.


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  3. 6 Jason 26 Mar
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  4. 5 Bob J. 28 Mar
    This is exactly what the future needs. Things need to be built to be recyclable in the first place. Sound like REMADE could do great things for the world. At our tree company, huge efforts are made to ensure that every tree we remove or stump we grind is recycled and put to good use, whether that be in the form of wood chips, mulch, or lumber to be used for furniture making or various projects.
  5. 4 Robert Johnson 28 Mar
    Really love to see articles like this. Helps everyone to see something positive that is going on, by some smart people who have a concrete plan to achieve success.

    We run a wrecker service in Alabama, and the some of our best customers we have are repeats who love us simply because we are extra friendly, like people used to be to each other 40-50 years ago. When people watch the morals and ethics fly out the window right in front of their face, it's refreshing to see someone trying to make a difference in a broken system. That's what we try to do, and that's what you guys are doing. Keep up the great work. Can't wait to see the results.
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